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Electrolytes, ionisation and conductivity

Conductivity in aqueous solutions, is a measure of the ability of water to conduct an electric current. The more ions there are in the solution, the higher its conductivity.

Conductivity is a measure of a solution's ability to conduct an electric current.


An electrolyte is a material that increases the conductivity of water when dissolved in it. Electrolytes can be further divided into strong electrolytes and weak electrolytes .

An electrolyte is a substance that contains free ions and behaves as an electrically conductive medium. Because they generally consist of ions in solution, electrolytes are also known as ionic solutions.
  1. Strong electrolytes A strong electrolyte is a material that ionises completely when it is dissolved in water:
    AB (s, l, g) A + (aq) + B - (aq)
    This is a chemical change because the original compound has been split into its component ions and bonds have been broken. In a strong electrolyte, we say that the extent of ionisation is high. In other words, the original material dissociates completely so that there is a high concentration of ions in the solution. An example is a solution of potassium nitrate:
    KNO 3 (s) K + (aq) + NO 3 - (aq)
  2. Weak electrolytes A weak electrolyte is a material that goes into solution and will be surrounded by water molecules when it is added to water. However, not all of the molecules will dissociate into ions. The extent of ionisation of a weak electrolyte is low and therefore the concentration of ions in the solution is also low.
    A B ( s , l , g ) A B ( a q ) A + ( aq ) + B - ( aq )
    The following example shows that in the final solution of a weak electrolyte, some of the original compound plus some dissolved ions are present.
    C 2 H 3 O 2 H ( l ) C 2 H 3 O 2 H C 2 H 3 O 2 - ( aq ) + H + ( aq )


A non-electrolyte is a material that does not increase the conductivity of water when dissolved in it. The substance goes into solution and becomes surrounded by water molecules, so that the molecules of the chemical become separated from each other. However, although the substance does dissolve, it is not changed in any way and no chemical bonds are broken. The change is a physical change . In the oxygen example below, the reaction is shown to be reversible because oxygen is only partially soluble in water and comes out of solution very easily.

C 2 H 5 OH ( l ) C 2 H 5 OH ( aq )
O 2 ( g ) O 2 ( aq )

Factors that affect the conductivity of water

The conductivity of water is therefore affected by the following factors:

  • The type of substance that dissolves in water. Whether a material is a strong electrolyte (e.g. potassium nitrate, KNO 3 ), a weak electrolyte (e.g. acetate, CH 3 COOH ) or a non-electrolyte (e.g. sugar, alcohol, oil) will affect the conductivity of water because the concentration of ions in solution will be different in each case.
  • The concentration of ions in solution. The higher the concentration of ions in solution, the higher its conductivity will be.
  • Temperature. The warmer the solution, the higher the solubility of the material being dissolved and therefore the higher the conductivity as well.

Questions & Answers

what is economic
Nana Reply
Economics is the study of how Individual consumer, institution and society as a whole uses its available finite resources to satisfy infinite needs and wants
what is international trade
BOBO Reply
other things remain constant.
Esale Reply
explain scarcity
Richard Reply
scarcity occurs when there are not enough resources to satisfy human's needs and wants therefore we need to allocate our resources using the price mechanism.
scarcity is when there is inadequate resources to catch the unlimited wants which would compel individual to make choice.
scarcity simply means when there's a shortages of resources to satisfy Hunan's need and wants in a particular time, which means the demand for it at the moment is higher than the supply
scarcity simply means when there's a shortages of resources to satisfy humans need and wants in a particular time, which means the demand for it at the moment is higher than it supply.
That escalated real quick😂
scarcity is sometimes considered as the basic problems of economics resources r scarce because we live in a world of humans in which wants are infinite but the land labor and capital r required to satisfy those wants are limited
scarcity means unlimited resources
joint or complementary demand
Ryt Reply
what is demand
Qudus Reply
it maybe define as the amount or quantity of goods and services which a consumer is willing to buy with the ability to pay at a given price at a particular time
yesoo thanks dear
why is economics a science
Isaac Reply
Because science is all about thinking by making models whether a computational or Mathematical. Economics is a social sciences because it effects society but to understand Economics we use maths so it is a Science
I hope.......Economic is social science because it makes new new currency of money,it is decided the country’s depend system and the system be repeated others benefits in our ...
so what is the disadvantages of mix economic system
Economics is regarded as a social science because it uses scientific methods to build theories that can help explain the behaviour of individuals, groups and organisations.
The question is: why is Economic a "science" and not why is economics a "social science?" Alright folks?
In my own understanding of why economics is a science it bcz it deals mainly on human resources just like biology that deals in the human body why economics is science it also deals on the management of human resources all over the world bcz without economics there will be no human resources
what is technology
my response to the earlier question is, economics is a science but not a pure science like biology, chemistry and physics. The reason is that those pure science study inanimate object while economics study human being, their experiment are predictable.
Economics is a social science subject that shows the relationship between ends and scarce means with their alternative uses
what is Equilibrium?
Fatima Reply
it means equal price and equal quality
thank u Arthur!
Equilibrium is a state of balance in an economy. In as far as market forces are reasonably concerned, equilibrium means the state at which the quantity of goods supplied is equal to the quantity of goods demanded.
what is labour
labor can be define as a both physical and mental effort of man put forward towards production
name the types of demand and explain any two
Joint demand Composite demand Competitive demand
Labourcan be defined as man mental and physical exertion
equilibrium is a state of balance especially between opposing forces or influences
what is elasticity
Motseoa Reply
difference between demand and supply
Adeyemi Reply
Demand- It is the desire of a buyer and his ability to pay for a particular commodity at a specific price. Supply- It is quantity of a commodity which is made available by the producers to its consumers at certain price.
yes OK thank you dear
Demand can be defined as the ability a buyer is willing and able to pay at a specific price and in agiven period of time Supply can be defined as the ability the producer is willing to supply with a specific price
what is labor force
demand represents the consumer while supply represents the firm
restriction on international trade
Ayim Reply
formula for price elasticity of demand
Lognyuu Reply
what is average cost advantage and absolute cost advantage
Tamo Reply
cost advantage is an advantage that the firm has over competitors in terms of costs absolute advantage is d ability of an individual company, region,or country to produce a greater quantity of a good of service with the same quantity of inputs per unit per time
what is ceteris paribus
other things remain constant.
can you explain in more details about ceteris paribus?
what is demand
Home Reply
demand can be defined as the quantity of a commodity which people are willing to buy at particular times and at a given price .
you are talking about campaney in my self ihave campaney why don't you calculated my business
Adow Reply
The fundamental frequency of a sonometer wire streached by a load of relative density 's'are n¹ and n² when the load is in air and completly immersed in water respectively then the lation n²/na is
Mukesh Reply
Properties of longitudinal waves
Sharoon Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 10 physical science [caps]. OpenStax CNX. Sep 30, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11305/1.7
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